Tort Problem Question: Luke had just obtained his driving licence and borrowed his father’s car to take his girlfriend Jane on a trip to the coast. Luke and Jane got into the car whilst Jane’s mother Amy saw them off from the balcony of her flat. Jane turned around in the front seat to wave to her mother. To do so she took off her safety belt and twisted around. Luke was trying to show off by pulling away at such a high speed that he left black tyre marks on the road. He got distracted by Jane’s movement and because he was travelling so fast, he lost control of the car, and it crashed into the pavement and a tree. Jane was flung through the windscreen and obtained multiple broken bones and severe lacerations to her face. Luke, who was wearing his seatbelt, suffered only a few bruises. Jane will have to undergo extensive cosmetic surgery and the doctors told her that although they would do the best they can, there was unfortunately no way she would be able to continue pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion model. Jane was due to sign, the day after the crash, a modelling contract which would have earned her £2million. Because of her injuries she now cannot pursue this. Amy, Jane’s mom, saw the whole accident from the balcony of her flat. Seeing her teenage daughter flung through the windscreen of the car and then severely injured gave her a massive shock. She became so depressed that she had to stop working as a primary school teacher. Her GP diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder. Advise Luke as to his possible liability and defences in negligence.

Angela was visiting her friend Betsy. She complained of a severe headache and Betsy gave her a box of painkillers that had been prescribed by her (Betsy’s) doctor. On the outside of the box and on a leaflet inside, there was a note reading: “Do not consume with alcohol. May cause severe nausea and diarrhoea.” Angela had drunk two small glasses of wine. She took two of the painkillers (the recommended dose for an adult). An hour later she became violently ill and was admitted to the Downbeat Hospital. She was examined by Conrad, a doctor, and told him about the pills she had taken. Conrad arranged for her to be admitted and prescribed a drug to treat her condition. Daphne, the nurse on duty, misread the doctor’s notes and gave her only 10 per cent of the dosage that Conrad prescribed. Angela became more seriously ill and required painful and debilitating abdominal surgery. There is a strong possibility that, if she had been given the correct dosage, she would have recovered after a few days. It has now been established that Angela suffered from an extremely rare allergy to one of the ingredients of the painkillers. No other case has been identified where a person taking one of these painkillers suffered a comparable reaction. It cannot be established whether the wine had contributed to the reaction. Advise Angela as to any claims in negligence against the Downbeat Hospital.

‘In my view, the time has come to recognise the legal duty of the police force to take action to protect a particular individual whose life or safety is, to the knowledge of the police, threatened by someone whose actions the police are able to restrain. I am not convinced that this requires a development of the common law but, if it does, I am sanguine about that prospect. Certainly, I do not believe that rules relating to liability for omissions should inhibit the law’s development to this point’. (Lord Kerr in his dissenting judgment in Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales (2015) UKSC 2) Discuss the extent to which the police owe a duty of care to individuals in the tort of negligence.

Tort Problem Question: Luke had just obtained his driving licence and borrowed his father’s car to take his girlfriend Jane on a trip to the coast. Luke and Jane got into the car whilst Jane’s mother Amy saw them off from the balcony of her flat. Jane turned around in the front seat to wave to her mother. To do so she took off her safety belt and twisted around. Luke was trying to show off by pulling away at such a high speed that he left black tyre marks on the road. He got distracted by Jane’s movement and because he was travelling so fast, he lost control of the car, and it crashed into the pavement and a tree. Jane was flung through the windscreen and obtained multiple broken bones and severe lacerations to her face. Luke, who was wearing his seatbelt, suffered only a few bruises. Jane will have to undergo extensive cosmetic surgery and the doctors told her that although they would do the best they can, there was unfortunately no way she would be able to continue pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion model. Jane was due to sign, the day after the crash, a modelling contract which would have earned her £2million. Because of her injuries she now cannot pursue this. Amy, Jane’s mom, saw the whole accident from the balcony of her flat. Seeing her teenage daughter flung through the windscreen of the car and then severely injured gave her a massive shock. She became so depressed that she had to stop working as a primary school teacher. Her GP diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder. Advise Luke as to his possible liability and defences in negligence.

Problem scenario: David is a bus driver, who is employed by Collins Coaches Ltd (CCL). He regularly drivers a group of very elderly people to an afternoon tea party. On one of these regular trips, the brakes on the bus failed for no apparent reason which caused the bus to crash. The bus was an old vehicle that had not had a maintenance service since 2011. Emma, who was passing round sweets to the rest of the passengers, had undone her seat belt at the time of the crash. Emma, aged 82, was badly hurt in the crash and wished to claim compensation for her injuries. CCL are refusing to give any information about the brakes. Laura, Emma’s daughter was not entitled to be on the trip and had not been allocated a seat. Despite this she secretly decided to go on the trip and sneaked onto the coach. She sat on the floor of the coach and she was aware that this was against the law. Laura broke her arm in the crash and missed her skiing holiday which had cost her £1,000, as a direct result. Ignoring insurance matters and any contractual issues, advise Emma and Laura regarding their possible negligence claims. Use cases to illustrate your answer.